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Poster: Liamfinnegan Date: Sep 14, 2006 10:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

The latest in my "Why I love(d)" series.

Instead of an acting metaphor, this time I am going to use a wine metaphor- it will be a bit detailed, but if there are any oenophiles out there you will understand.

In Bordeaux, in a great vintage, the best of the wines, when they are first tasted, are fierce, tight, delicious, but highly tannic and "closed up"- it is not yet ready to be enjoyed to its fullest. Sometimes, after about 3-4 years the wine will start to show itself again, opening up a bit more, showing more nuances,more depth and breadth of flavor and aroma- over a few more years the wine goes through another transformation and closes back down. Open the bottle after 5 or 6 years and you might find it not very tasty like before- wine critics call this a hiding period

But the best is to come- about 10-12 years of age on a great bordeaux and now it is ready to drink- it is in all of its glory- the tannins have smoothed out, the fruit has mellowed, everything has integrated into one of the finest tasting drinks in the world

Losing Brent when we did was like dropping a few cases of 1990 Chateau Latour or a 1985 Chateau Haut Brion a case of 1962 Lafitte.

Brent came charging out of the gate- he was much different than Keith- he came in fired up showing signs of brilliance-

But he was not Keith- in just a few years he was starting to hear the whispers- and he was a very sensitive guy and the criticism bothhered him- as it was reported. 1982-1984/85 he became a bit more reclusive- still a great player- still not accepted by many heads- No doubt he changed the overall sound of the band- to some, it was not what they wanted- they did not expect a keyboard player to take center stage- to take charge of a major part of the sound.

Fast forward to 1988-1990. A whole new generation of heads came into existence- I never saw Keith- Brent is all I knew, and I loved him from the beginning- especially his vocals, and later his imagination and inventiveness (not necessarily his song writing). Some people called this new generation "Touch Heads"- but truth be told, that was a small segment- it was more people like me and Purple Gel who grew up with the 80's dead.

In these years Brent began to shine- He added new instrumentation- his voice matured- and his contribution to the band immense- his bandmates knew it- but unfortunately many heads did not- nevertheless the resurgence of the band in those three years- post-coma Jerry is undeniable- some will say it was Jerry's resurgence- sure in part it was- but his smack habit annoyed me, and many second sets went flat as a result

BUT Brent- now he was a bright star- a full fledged contributor- a leader at times- a fantastic keyboard player in the best band in the world. Folks, I was listening to the first set of 7-12-90 on cassette the other day- a crisp audience tape- and I spontaneously broke out in tears- I thought Omigod this fabuluous player-this inestimable force, was about to leave us at the point he was coming into his own. Two weeks later to the day he was lost.

It was a musical crime of the century to lose him when we did- who knows what may have been? I really think Jerry loved the man so dearly- and never recovered from the loss- Phil said Jerry grew tired of Keith at the end, as Keith would just mimic Jerrys lines- not Brent- he dared to go his own way- and it was magnificent.

What might have been.......so very sad.....listen to 7/7/89 Blow Away for an example of what I mean- Brent owned everyone in JFK at that moment and created a metaphysical wind flow in the old stadium.

I loved Brent because he withstood the criticism- he had an undeniable work ethic- he came to play and he listened on stage- he led when it was proper and deferred when proper- and he, to me, was my favorite keys player even after listening to a lot of Keith and Pig. BUt to compare Pig and Brent would be silly- two different bands, really.

Why did you love or hate Brent?

This post was modified by Liamfinnegan on 2006-09-15 05:50:29

This post was modified by Liamfinnegan on 2006-09-15 05:52:01

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Poster: mcglone Date: Sep 15, 2006 1:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

buddy holly, richie valens, lenny breau glen gould, charlie parker, jimi hendrix, robert johnson, stevie ray vaughn, janis joplin, kurt cobain, billie holiday, blind lemon jefferson, duane allman, michael hedges, nick drake, jaco pastorius, john lennon...

"It was a musical crime of the century to lose him when we did" at least you didn't give into hyperbole.

ian

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Poster: high flow Date: Sep 15, 2006 9:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

Thanks for the big-picture reminder mcglone. That was a laugh. Sometimes we get lost in the GD universe and ignore the gravitational pull of the REAL world.

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Sep 15, 2006 10:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

mcglone: Lenny Breau Live at Bourbon St. (6/14/83 w/ Dave Young) is my all time fav, and just when i thiught i was the only one here that knew of Lenny Breau's existence

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Poster: mcglone Date: Sep 16, 2006 3:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

howdy sun,

breau' daughter, emily hughes, produced a solid documentary, " the genius of lenny breau" in the late nineties. i'm sure if you look under a rock or two online you'll find it.

ian

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Poster: caspersvapors Date: Sep 15, 2006 7:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

+1 for 7/7/89 Blow Away

I always loved his voice too

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Poster: Franchi$e Date: Sep 17, 2006 9:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

OK, I'm a bit late, but I gotta pipe in...

I love Kieth, and I loved Pig, and I love Brent. (And I think Vince takes WAY too much crap - he was in the coolest band ever, and that makes him de facto cooler than any of us critics - but that's a whole separate conversation)...

Brent came in, from day ONE, and smoked the whole place. His big phat B-3 screeching on Don't Ease, and that awesome ploink alongside Bobby's squeek sound from 79 playing Shakedown or something is about as good as it gets for me. He could play, and he did add a lot of masculine power to the band that's exhilarating to hear.

And he could sing. Listen to a BEW from late 79. Man, his voice was awesome. Or over the top of something like GSET.

I think there are certain songs that favored Kieth's style - Eyes, MNS, Ramble on Rose, Bird Song... But Brent was awesome at the more straigh forward jams...

OK, to me the greatest example of Brentness and what he added to the band is to compare a version of the Wheel from 76 or 77 to one from the mid-80's... When they just started cranking that thing up and you can't help but jump out of yer seat.

Brent was awesome.





This post was modified by Franchi$e on 2006-09-17 16:20:27

This post was modified by Franchi$e on 2006-09-17 16:20:59

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Poster: PharmacyDave Date: Sep 17, 2006 1:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

Loved Brent. So much texture and variety of sounds played very well. I had a sign in my dorm in highschool(1985) that read, "God Bless Brent".

I'm at the Kaiser in 3/87 and see this head I ALWAYS saw up front with me. The dude's wearing a "Don't need Brent" T-shirt. I ask him what's up and he says, "His misogynist lyrics and attitude don't do it for me". OK. I laid into him for about 30 minutes citing chapter and verse, literally, of how Brent was helping to save our band for us. Weird shit man.

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Poster: bubble Date: Sep 18, 2006 5:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

I have always maintained that the GD reached their peak in the 70s, in large part due to Keith. His wonderful boogey woogey style of piano often drove the more rocking/blues tunes. On his quiter moments, he was able to fill the gaps between Weir, Garcia and Lesh with lovely little riffs. I was lucky enough to see the boys (and girl) during the 70s. I then experienced Brent in the 80 and I have to say...never liked him and always missed Keith. I found Brent too heavy handed. He would sit on some of the organ notes for ever, which I found annoying. He lacked soul in my eyes and ears. Watch the Dead Movie and observe Keith. Watch that sly smile creep across his face when he starts to hit the groove. It is pure magic. No wonder the 70s were the golden years...

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Poster: Franchi$e Date: Sep 19, 2006 3:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

You know, I love Keith too. I think he was way more jazzy and subtle than Brent, for sure.

But here's the thing: Keith did not fit into the band near the end as much as he did in the earlier years (73-74 in particular). By 77-78, the band was becoming a lot less jazzy and a lot more of a kickin rock band with a bit of jazz sensibility, and some of those final Kieth shows, he's not fitting in nearly as well as he did earlier. Sometimes he seems like he's just banging away the chords on the piano, trying to be heard.

Now enter Brent, right when ther band is making that kind of move anyway - and he cooks up that B-3, with his smoky-tenor voice. It fits perfecty with the direction that the band was taking at that time already.

Sometimes I want to hear the band playing all cool and jazzy - 1973 Keith; and sometimes I want to hear them crank up the wheel at about 99 mph - 1984 Brent.

I just think loving Brent's contribution and loving Kieth's contribution should not be mutualy exclusive. I guess that brings us back to the apples and oranges thing.

But Brent was a heavy handed player, indeed; and I love that!

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Poster: Liamfinnegan Date: Sep 15, 2006 2:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

206 people viewed - 0nly 7 responses? Come on lurkers- let us know who you are....only this once

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Sep 15, 2006 2:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

I'll play. I loved Brent because if things were getting to crazy and serious I always knew he could be counted on to bring me crashing back down to earth with I Don't Need Love.

Seriously though, Brent is my favorite of the keyboardists because I thought he gave the band an edge and ballsiness that was lacking during a lot of the Keith years. I know, it's apples and oranges, but I like oranges better (overall - although a tasty granny smith can hit the spot).

Also, I loved Brent with Bobby and the Midnites when Alphonso Johnson played bass and Billy Cobham played drums. They were a great band.

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Poster: lobster12 Date: Sep 15, 2006 12:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

Why I love brent? Easy,Simple fact.....

On a bad night he could make it mediocre. On a good night he could make it great. IMO, that's a pretty great accomplishment since he was just a "sidesman" and the "new guy" for close to a decade.

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Poster: SDH2O Date: Sep 15, 2006 6:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

In the video "Truckin' Up to Buffalo", the exchange between Jerry and Brent which takes place I believe during the jam in an unbelievable Deal (please correct if I'm wrong)where Jerry is standing directly in front of Brent and they are looking each other in the eye while matching riff for riff says it all about the musical relationship between the two. That one moment makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. The musical connection betwen the two was absolutely perfect and Jerry knew it, leading me to agree that Brent's death took alot of wind out of Jerry's sails for a long time. While both Vince and Bruce were very good as replacements, in my opinion they never quite reached the level of connection and power that Brent was able to with Jerry.

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Poster: Cranky1 Date: Sep 15, 2006 5:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

Listen to Brent and Jerry from 6/16/90 Shoreline Amphitheater doing 'Let the Good Times Roll' Man had a voice and it goes so well with Jerry's sound....

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Poster: willowgordon Date: Nov 18, 2006 3:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

As mentioned, Brent and Garcia had an undeniable chemistry; I'll never forget how they smiled at each other. Brent was my main key-man. Was at his last shows at Tinley Park and his last words on stage were "I gotta go, but my friend can stick around." RIP brother. Have shows if anyone interested, email me: (Edit)

This post was modified by willowgordon on 2006-09-16 01:53:53

This post was modified by willowgordon on 2006-11-18 23:12:07

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Poster: Cranky1 Date: Sep 17, 2006 6:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

Yeah, I remember that fromthe Downhill From Here video. Kinda sweet....

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Poster: Purple Gel Date: Sep 14, 2006 10:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

I loved what Brent brought to the table from the begining. Brent definitely added a new dimension to the sound of the band and he was much more an equal part of the sound than Keith had been. Much of this had to do with the fact that he played organ and therefore used more effects. I remember many times when he and Jerry would trade licks and feed off of each other. I also think that he helped breathe new life into songs such as Eyes and The Other One.

I remember at the '81 Greeks ( I believe the 2nd show, 9-12)when someone had brought a big cloth banner saying something like "Turn down Brent", Phil motioned to have the banner passed to the stage and made a big deal about lighting it on fire while the crowd cheered. It seemed at that time that Brent had arrived.

This post was modified by Purple Gel on 2006-09-15 05:41:08

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Poster: ReddyKillowatt Date: Sep 14, 2006 10:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

no matter what grateful dead you prefer, pigpen days, keith days, or brent days, you can't really deny that brent was the best musician out of them and had to take a lot of shit before he got where he was in the mid-late 80's. I know the band was really into playing with him because of that

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Poster: jcroot Date: Sep 16, 2006 6:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

just the same - would you mind if I denied that?

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Poster: high flow Date: Sep 14, 2006 9:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

For songs like One More Saturday Night. His blasting organ changed that song and many others that went flat in the post-Brent years. For what he did to the 'staple' songs, the bread and water songs. He, sometimes turned the mundane to insane!

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Poster: TheDaliTrauma Date: Sep 15, 2006 1:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

Just gotta say, I really dug your wine analogy. Especially since I work in a cold-ass wine storage facility and only the hottest Dead shows bring us any warmth around here...that and the occasional bottle to share.

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Poster: as1307 Date: Sep 14, 2006 9:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Musical Crime of the Century- and Why I loved Brent

11/1/79 scarlet > fire